Hue and cry

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My sketchbooks have been becoming simpler and more austere over the years. I started just drawing in ink, then added color, then watercolors and then slowly turned back until all I have been using is a dip pen and black india ink.

Occasionally I’d get wild and add a little watered down sum-i ink. But mainly I relied on cross hatching and the varying line widths of my flexible steel nib.

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On the rarest of occasions, I would add a color,  a single solid  wash over my line, an earth tone or maybe two for the sake of variety. My work was increasingly about limitations and technique, playing with the simplest of notes and digging deep into  lots of combinations.

But in the past few months since Patti’s accident, I have gone hog-wild in an explosion of the brightest colors I could find. I cover each page with magentas and fuschias and sap green and cadmium yellow.

I even treated myself to the complete collection of Dr. PH Martin’s liquid watercolors, 56 explosive tones that even my camera cannot do justice to. These are fragile colors, they can’t be exposed to sunlight, but perfect to lurk within the pages of a sketchbook and then leap out at the reader when the page is turned.

It’s funny, this penchant I now have for the rainbow. Mourning is supposed to be conducted in shades of black and gray. But one of my love’s many nicknames was ‘Patti Pink‘ and she adored bright colors. Her memory has infected me and I want to commemorate it in the brightest colors I can find. My book is a feast of sizzling hues and she would have liked it that way.